No marriage is perfect. Marriages, like life, go through ups and downs, good times and not so good times. We all know that approximately 50 % of marriages end in divorce. What you might not know is that whether or not a couple has worked with a professional “marriage counselor” has little to do with improving this number.
Traditional marriage counseling has the following limitations:
- It is expensive
- You need to make an extended and regular time commitment
- If your spouse is unwilling to participate your options are limited
- The quality and the professionalism of the counsel can vary greatly
- Traditional methods of “exploring what went wrong” can be painful, unproductive, and even lead to further resentments
- Working on “communication skills” can just mean you are able to argue more articulately
So you can see that there is an urgent need for something other than traditional marriage counseling to help marriages.
There are many different scenarios that lead to divorce. An affair? Well, unless your spouse is a chronic philanderer (in which case, stop reading this article and start Googling “divorce lawyers”) I will be so bold as to say that happily married people don’t cheat. Infidelity is usually the result of an unfulfilled need in a marriage. You might be surprised how infrequently that need revolves around sex. Usually it is some emotional need that is not being met. How else would you account for the huge number of “emotional affairs” that happen. Sometimes having sex with someone else seems like an easy way out or, at best, a distraction. It’s never a solution to the real problem.
Money problems, the stress of rearing children, constant bickering, emotional and physical distance – these are all signs of an unhealthy marriage. Just like your body or your car, your marriage will not run smoothly unless you pay attention to basic marriage maintenance and healthy relationship habits. Embarking on a program that can help you set up positive relationship habits is ultimately much more affective in saving marriages than marriage counseling. Better still, it is something from which even marriages that aren’t in crisis can hugely benefit.
Positive relationship habits cover a whole spectrum of practical measures you can take to improve your relationship with your spouse, even if they are reluctant to participate in any type of program. Sure, some of these habits revolve around having good habits for open communication, but it goes way deeper than that. The most critical need in a marriage is to make the other person feel noticed, appreciated, treasured. And yes, better intimacy is a part of that. There is definitely a time to stop talking and start touching.
Anyone who has gone through a divorce or separation can tell you that the financial and emotional costs can be devastating. Investing in professional guidance and setting up a “Marriage Fitness” program is one of the best investments you can make. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the wealth of resources that the internet has to offer in the area of help for marriage. Many are free, all the best ones have guarantees, so you have nothing to lose. Don’t you deserve a healthy marriage?